UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center

Awards and Competitions

Name recognition, free promotion and greater perceived prominence are just a few benefits of getting an honor.

Make your company a household name and get well-deserved recognition by competing for and winning locally and nationally sponsored awards.

Check the list below for Misouri's most prominent business competitions that are currently taking nominations.

If you'd like to list a competition or award, please contact info@mosourcelink.com

Interchange is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Interchange is designed to strengthen communities and individual artists within our region by supporting artist-led projects focused on social impact.

Interchange grants will be awarded to 16 artists with an active, socially engaged creative practice in the Mid-America Arts Alliance region through:

  • $20,000 in direct project support
  • Professional development retreats with Interchange grantees
  • Mentoring

    Follow the link to learn more: interchangeartistgrant.art/apply

Digital Sandbox KC: Where Innovators Come to Play (Ongoing)

Digital Sandbox KC brings together people, ideas and resources to build thriving companies. The program provides much needed early-stage funding to rising stars. The region's longtime leaders including private companies, government agencies and universities have united to help this new wave of entrepreneurs. It's an unprecedented metro-wide effort to help make KC America's most entrepreneurial city.

RESULTS SO FAR:
93 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
35 new KC-based companies created
53 companies have secured follow-on investment
$38.2 million in follow-on funding
More than 480 new jobs created, with more than $12 million in payroll

Digital Sandbox KC broadly seeks new innovation in information technology.  The Sandbox provides innovators with proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. The Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.

The Digital Sandbox KC process requires:
- Completion of the Digital Sandbox KC Online Application
- A Meeting/Pitch Evaluation
- A Board Vote

Please keep in mind that this application will be viewed by those evaluating your submission; those participating in your meeting/pitch and by the Sandbox board for voting purposes. Once your application is received, it will be reviewed for completeness and you will be contacted with information regarding next steps. Submission Tip: Thoroughly reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions prior to submission may improve your outcome.

With the financial support of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Downtown Shareholders is pleased to announce the launch of the third round of Pop-Up! Downtown KCK, a retail development initiative to enliven Downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Pop-Up! Downtown KCK matches select entrepreneurs with high-visibility, well-sited spaces at free or reduced rent, and provides an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to test a retail concept or determine whether Downtown KCK is a viable long-term location for their business.

To learn more about this program or to download a funding application, check out our website.

SLUStart I-Corps is a program managed by the Research Innovation Group in Saint Louis University's Office of the Vice President for Research. It is designed to help academic researchers, community inventors and innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region extend their focus beyond academia, the laboratory, and the workshop so that they create successful products and services that deliver real value.

By participating in SLUStart I-Corps you can get help pursuing your innovation or new venture concept and possibly qualify for up to $50,000 in non-dilutive financial support.

SLUStart I-Corps helps participants ensure that their research and innovations will have greater economic and societal benefit. It integrates the original SLUStart program and the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Site program at Saint Louis University. As such, SLUStart I-Corps projects that qualify as NSF I-Corps Site projects have full access to the NSF I-Corps ecosystem.

SLUStart I-Corps aims to:

  • Train participants in the lean startup methodology (i.e., customer development process) popularized by Steve Blank.
  • Increase the quality and impact of research conducted at Saint Louis University.
  • Advance the commercialization of SLU intellectual properties.
  • Increase the effectiveness of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the St. Louis, Missouri region.
  • Increase the participation of underrepresented groups, such as women and African-Americans, in entrepreneurship and the technology industry.

SLUStart I-Corps holds cohorts on a rolling basis throughout the year.  It also partners with local community-based organizations to reach target populations and deliver the SLUStart I-Corps curriculum.  SLUStart I-Corps partners include:

  • Arch Grants
  • Inventors Association of St. Louis
  • IT Entrepreneurs Network (ITEN)
  • Veterans Business Resource Center

If you have questions about SLUStart I-Corps, contact Malcolm Townes in the Research Innovation Group at malcolm.townes@slu.edu. To participate in the program, submit your application.

To submit your Application

https://www.cognitoforms.com/SaintLouisUniversityResearchInnovationGroup/SLUStartICorpsApplication

For More information:

https://www.slu.edu/research/faculty-resources/research-innovation-group/slustart-icorps.php?utm_campaign=St.%20Louis&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter


About this Event

This PitchForce will take place virtually using Zoom Webinars. Please see the description on the virtual format for more details.

After signing up for your free ticket you will be given a link to register for the webinar via Zoom.

WHAT?

PitchForce is a weekly event for early stage high-tech startup entrepreneurs to get a chance to deliver a 4-minute elevator pitch to a panel of seasoned angel investors. Please send your deck and executive summary to steven@peopleconnectstaffing.com for approval before signing up.

WHO?

Producing the event is Max Shapiro, CEO of PeopleConnect, a 20 year-old high tech startup recruiting firm. He has been hosting monthly pitch events for the past 8 years. PeopleConnect is the most unique recruiting firm in the world, featuring their Employees Without Paychecks model whereby PeopleConnect places individuals at early stage tech companies who are willing to work for options only for the first three months of their employment

PitchForce Virtual Format

· Each company will deliver a 1-minute elevator to the Investor Panelists. There will be up to two questions from the panel.

· After each company’s elevator pitch the panel will vote on a scale of 1-5 as to how much they like the company.

· The top 5 vote getters will get to do a 4-minute ppt followed by 4 minutes of question and answers followed by 4 minutes of non-rebuttal feedback. The panelists will vote again on the company based on their 4-minute ppt.

· Winners will be announced following the pitches. Companies that do well often get meetings with the investors that result in beginning the process for Angel investment.

Want to pitch?

If you want to present at this PitchForce please send your deck and exec summary to: steven@peopleconnectstaffing.com

 
Technology and innovation companies applying for an SBIR/STTR grant, can get help completing their application with help from the Missouri SBDC!

The Missouri SBDC is awarding 20 grants to Missouri technology companies to specifically help these companies hire grant-writing assistance to get their applications over the finish line. The grants are in the amount of $2,500.

Those interested in applying must be based in Missouri, a current Missouri SBDC client or willing to become a client, and be applying for a Federal SBIR/STTR grant.

Interested innovators are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The grants are awarded on an ongoing basis and reviewed individually for fit.

Link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kvWu-N97dt70QBSaFdmLUCaUdBkBUeADFCr-g0EM0Xs/viewform?ts=61eb1f85&edit_requested=true

Small businesses in Greene County will be able to apply for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding starting on April 20, 2022. The County will receive a total of $56.9 million in federal ARPA funds to support local economic recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greene County Commission has allocated approximately $8 million for small business ARPA applications. The Commission is planning four rounds of funding over the next two years with approximately $2 million available each cycle. The first round of funding will be open to small businesses in the County for six weeks, lasting until May 31.

Small businesses that are awarded funds from the County will be required to provide a report demonstrating how they’ve utilized the grant funding to support their business’ operations. The eligibility criteria for ARPA funding is as follows:

– The business must be located in Greene County, Missouri.
– The business must be a for-profit or family-owned business that employs 50 or fewer full-time employees, including the owner(s).
– The business must not employ undocumented immigrant workers and must be enrolled in E-Verify.
– The business must have existed in Greene County, Missouri as of March 1st, 2020.
– The business must demonstrate the existence of negative impacts incurred as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency since March 1st, 2020.
– The business is not suspended or debarred from the use of federal funds.

The following are allowable uses for ARPA funding outlined by the U.S. Treasury department:

Revenue Loss Mitigation – Funds may be used to mitigate financial hardship such as declines in revenues or impacts of periods of business closure, for example by supporting payroll and benefits costs, costs to retain employees, mortgage, rent, or utilities costs, and other operating costs.

Facilities – Funds may be used to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation tactics, such as physical plant changes to enable social distancing, enhanced cleaning efforts, barriers or partitions, or COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or contact tracing programs.

Small businesses cannot use ARPA funds for the following expenditures:

– Paying non-business debt, such as personal credit cards for purchases not associated with the business.
– Personal expenses such as buying a new family car or making repairs to a home.
– Direct financing to political activities or paying off taxes and fines.
– Purchase of personal items.
– The purchase of drugs, tobacco, and/or alcohol.
– Food and entertainment.
– Bonuses.
– Travel not associated with direct business operations.

Apply for Greene County ARPA Funds

To apply for Greene County ARPA funds, click on the orange “American Rescue Plan Act” tab on the www.greenecountymo.gov homepage. Then click on the “ARPA small business application” sub-link to begin the registration process.

 
 

Hack Midwest has hosted Kansas City's largest coding competition since 2012, and next week 300-plus software engineers will compete for $20,000 in cash, including a $10,000 grand prize from H&R Block Inc.

Software engineering teams from more than 50 regional firms will demonstrate their abilities by developing apps that deliver creative solutions to problems in a variety of sectors, including finance, health care, manufacturing, transportation and more.

 

To learn more and register for the competition - 

 https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/inno/stories/news/2022/07/19/hack-midwest-hosting-coding-competition.html

Directly aligned with the STL 2030 Jobs Plan priority to create a world-class ecosystem for small businesses and entrepreneurs, the Diverse Business Accelerator is for ethnically, racially, and gender-diverse business owners looking to advance their enterprise’s capacity to grow. In the span of three months, program participants will learn how to develop actionable business expansion goals, market, and communicate their services, make meaningful business connections, and identify the capital and resources required to support growth.

Qualifications :

  • Annual revenue of $500k or more
  • A business growth plan that demonstrates the business’s capacity to scale (increase revenue, hire employees) within 2 to 5 years
  • 51% minority ownership
  • Headquartered in the 15-county, bi-state St. Louis MSA
To learn more, please visit https://greaterstlinc.com/our-work/strategic-initiatives/inclusive-business-solutions/diverse-business-accelerator?utm_source=MarketingCloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GSL+Newsletter+07-27-22&utm_content=%e2%96%baGET+THE+DETAILS


Hy-Vee has committed $50,000 to advancing local minority- and women-owned businesses across greater Kansas City and surrounding states.

If you represent a minority- or woman-owned business, submit a free application to participate in a pitch competition during Hy-Vee’s OpportUNITY Inclusive Business Summit at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. Selected businesses will be invited to present their products or services to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $30,000! Additional cash investments will be awarded and select finalists may be invited to participate in a roundtable meeting with Hy-Vee following the summit.

Not interested in pitching? No problem! The summit offers minority- and woman-owned business owners the chance to participate in a full-day of networking and professional development at no cost. Attendees will enjoy an expo that offers resources for small businesses, learning opportunities through presentations and panel discussions, the chance to be inspired by others and more.

Questions? Please email Opportunity@hy-vee.com.

Registration: https://www.hy-veeopportunitysummit.com/submit

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has posted the final guidelines for its Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program. The program is funded via the State of Missouri’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This $265 million program will help communities and providers across the state invest in broadband infrastructure to bring access to unserved and underserved areas through competitive grants.

The Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program's guidelines were posted in late May and DED accepted public comment from May 31 through June 15. The final guidelines are now available here.


To apply click here
Funds would be used to train and upskill under and unemployed workers, expand customized recruitment assistance to employers, and help Missouri training partners invest in modern equipment and training for their instructors.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) requested public feedback on a proposed Workforce Training Grant Program, funded via the State of Missouri’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This $30 million Program is intended to provide training for individuals and companies that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Final guidelines for the Workforce Training Grant Program are now live and the application is anticipated to open by the end of August. To review the final guidelines, click here.

The $100 million program encourages strategic investment to revitalize communities and spur economic recovery and growth throughout Missouri. The Department of Economic Development (DED) is currently reviewing public comments and revising guidelines accordingly. Review the draft guidelines.

T.H.R.I.V.E. stands for Train. Hope. Rise. Innovate. Venture. Elevate - an executive-level training series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses across the United States.

Eligibility and Requirements :

T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined is an executive-level training series intended to give ambitious small business leaders a challenging opportunity to accelerate their growth through targeted training led by motivating leaders in small business development. T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined revolutionizes the rich history of executive-level training for small businesses poised for growth.

The Office of Entrepreneurial Development is committed to transforming our learning ecosystem to be timelier, more relevant, and to meet small businesses where they are right now. We embody this approach with T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined.
 
Do I qualify to participate ?
This training is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

  • Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self
What are the key program highlights ?
  • Mentoring
  • In-person coaching for C-level executives
  • Self-paced instruction with demonstrated business sustainability
  • A hybrid model that includes virtual and classroom sessions
  • Micro-sessions customized for small businesses’ unique needs
  • Experienced subject matter experts
  • Removing the one- size fits all model in exchange for engagement, problem-solving, and peer-to-peer interaction within the cohorts
Interested in participating? Visit T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined’s website for more information.
A year-long virtual program, exclusively for underserved entrepreneurs who identify as women, people of color or are leading a business in a rural community.

Designed for Underserved Entrepreneurs :

We know that entrepreneurs who come from underserved backgrounds do not start on the same playing field as others. This became especially apparent to us over the last several years. Many of our incredible applicants were so close to being ready for our Fellowship program, but needed an additional layer of support and resources to be able to quit their full-time job and work 100% on their venture.

That’s why we designed the Pipeline Pathfinder, a year-long virtual program, exclusively for underserved entrepreneurs who identify as women, people of color or are leading a business in a rural community. Our goal is to give you the knowledge, support and resources you need to scale your high-growth business and ultimately — pave the path for you to join the Pipeline Fellowship.

The program will cover similar topics to the Fellowship, such as market validation, business models, financials and communication with session leaders and facilitators primarily from underserved backgrounds. Each Pipeline Pathfinder Fellow will be matched with a mentor from an underserved community. Fellows won’t just receive one Mentor, they’ll receive an entire network of them. Pipeline Pathfinder Fellows and Pipeline Fellows will come together for networking events and additional sessions as we continue to power our Midwest ecosystem and grow our Pipeline family.

Eligibility Criteria :

·         Pipeline Pathfinder applicants do not need to be working full-time in their business at the time of application. However, applicants should have an end-goal to be full-time in their venture in the next one to two years and be located within our region (Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska).

·         To learn more about who should apply, and to answer any other questions you may have about the pilot program, read the Fellowship Application FAQ and eligibility documents before completing the application to ensure your meet all Pipeline requirements.

Click here to learn more about the application process

 

On September 1, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced the call for nominations  for the 2023 National Small Business Week (NSBW) Awards. The NSBW Awards recognize SBA-assisted small businesses’ inspirational achievements and contributions to their communities and our nation’s economy. 

All nominations should be submitted electronically by 3 p.m. ET on December 8, 2022. The awards will be presented during the NSBW Awards ceremony in the first week of May 2023. 

For over 50 years, the SBA has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

To nominate a small business owner in your area or download related forms, criteria, and guidelines, visit sba.gov/nsbw. Nominations for the following categories will be accepted:  

Small Business Person of the Year: A business/owner from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam will be selected for the State Winner award. The state award winners will compete for the title of National Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s signature award.

Additional awards include:

  • Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery:
    • Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
    • Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery - Mitigation
    • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery, Public Official
    • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery, Volunteer
  • Federal Procurement Awards:
    • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year
    • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower Awards for Excellence (for large prime contractors who use small businesses as suppliers and contractors)
    • 8(a) Graduate of the Year
  • Awards to SBA Resource Partners:
    • Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award
    • Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
    • Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Year
  • Small Business Investment Company of the Year

For local area contact and other related information, visit online at https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-locations/sba-district-offices.

Applications are now open for the T-Mobile Accelerator XR program! T-Mobile is seeking startups, developers and entrepreneurs that are building immersive 5G experiences for AR glasses that are looking to leverage the advanced capabilities of the Snapdragon Spaces™ XR Developer Platform. As the lead 5G launch partner in North America for Snapdragon Spaces, the Un-carrier is working to fuel 5G innovation for AR glasses leveraging heads-up displays, spatial awareness and computer vision across the gaming, entertainment, education, health and fitness as well as travel and hospitality industries.

T-Mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and others are collaborating to develop AR content and experiences. To help build the ecosystem of applications, T-Mobile engineers and business leaders will work directly with T-Mobile Accelerator participants as they develop, test and bring to market new products and services. Experts from Qualcomm Technologies will also be available, providing support for XR solutions including those built on the Snapdragon Spaces platform. The program kicks off in spring 2022 and is expected to run through November with participants joining on a rolling basis.

“XR blurs the boundary between our physical and virtual worlds, and we see tremendous potential in glasses as one of the first disruptive product categories for 5G,” said John Saw, EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile. “But for AR wearables to make a real impact we need to first establish a strong ecosystem of developers that will bring these new applications to life.”

With Snapdragon Spaces, developers can receive resources to create immersive consumer and enterprise AR applications. The platform enables developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses from scratch, or simply add headworn AR features to existing Android smartphone applications for a unified, multi-screen experience between the smartphone screen in 2D and the real world in 3D.

Learn more and apply here

Calling all dreamers, heartland visionaries, and entrepreneurial idealists... it’s time to pitch your business plan because $25,000 is up for grabs.

If you are an entrepreneur in the Kansas City region with big dreams, you now have the opportunity to pitch your best business ideas to win a cash award during Global Entrepreneurship Week - Kansas City. The following cash prizes are at stake - 1st place $25,000; 2nd place $10,000; and Fan Favorite $2,500. The AltCap Your Biz: Pitch Competition mobilizes the next generation of entrepreneurs and social innovators and helps accelerate their growth.

The 2022 AltCap Your Biz: Pitch Competition is now open. To apply, download the 2022 AltCap Your Biz Guidelines Packetand review the document in full. Eligible applicants should submit an application and post a pitch video per the contest guidelines.

Pitch videos and applications are due October 9, 2022, by 5:00 pm CST. Finalists will be notified by October 19.

Sign up to be notified by email of future contest guidelines and dates.

The NFL, in partnership with the Kansas City Sports Commission, recently launched its Business Connect program, which seeks local and diverse businesses to utilize for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“As Kansas City prepares for the biggest event in its history, we’re grateful to the NFL for championing our local businesses and showcasing a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity among its vendors,” says Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC. “We know our Draft Experience will be uniquely Kansas City due, in part, to these outstanding organizations.”

The Business Connect program is looking to identify up to 100 local, diverse businesses with premiere, large event experience and the capacity to work alongside NFL vendors to produce Draft events. Interested suppliers can find details on specific event production business lines required by the Business Connect program on the Greater Kansas City Sports Commissions website here. Event-ready suppliers can apply to Business Connect through October 7, 2022.

To qualify for 2023 NFL Draft Business Connect, each business must:

  • Be 51% owned by a minority, woman, veteran, or LGBTQ+ individual and be certified
  • Have a physical office and been in operation in Kansas City, MO since April 2019
  • Provide a product or service requested by Business Connect
  • Be the direct source of the goods and services you propose to sell
  • Be in good standing and eligible to do business in Kansas City and the state of Missouri

“The Business Connect program is an integral part of the NFL’s efforts to empower local diverse businesses in Draft markets,” says B.J. Waymer, NFL Business Connect Lead. “The program’s ability to amplify the talents and services of minority, women, LGBTQ+ and veteran-owned businesses, while creating contract and development opportunities that help grow local business communities, is critical and powerful. It is a core part our legacy to Draft host cities.”

For more information about the 2023 NFL Draft, please visit http://marketing.sportkc.org/e/752153/2023nfldraft/6hv72v/280844845?h=OkBQXHEYAGzvEjILS3CeaF407nVpxPK3ySIwCCJxUQg.

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